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Sales Vs. Marketing: What You Need to Know

Many people, regardless of industry, often combine two vastly different concepts: sales and marketing. While these two often work hand-in-hand to achieve great things and impossible tasks, they are incredibly different. I’ve heard all of the analogies – from salespeople being the talkers and the marketing people being “the brains” to both of them being written off as swindlers. Guess what: everything you have heard is probably 100% wrong.

So let’s set the record straight. What is marketing? What is sales? How does understanding sales and marketing help the business of a medical device sales rep? You know the drill. Let’s get started.

Sales: More Than Just Closing Deals

We have all seen Glengarry Glen Ross and that infamous scene where Alec Baldwin’s tells everyone to “Always Be Closing”. But the sales techniques of the past (even from the middle 2000s and early 2010s) aren’t going to cut it in today’s world of big data and transparency.

Sales reps today have to work even smarter to maintain and expand their territory. By utilizing groundbreaking and growth hacking strategies like sales acceleration, you can use actionable intelligence to grow your business. So, what is sales in the modern age? Is it just a series of numbers on a spreadsheet or a signature on a dotted line? Kind of, but it’s more about data interpretation and synthesis than it is meeting quotas. It’s also about utilizing the latest technology available to the masses and keeping up with the “Joneses”. If your career is in sales, and you do not stay up to speed with mobile tech – you are losing out.

The best way to look at sales vs. marketing is to consider sales the “Brick and Mortar” or “Practical” aspect of this relationship. You’re focused on hard statistics and timelines like sales numbers and fiscal quarters. Even moreso today, with big data playing an increasingly large role in how we conduct business, salespeople and medical sales reps are focused on numbers. The closest and simplest analogy would be the STEM department in your average university.

Marketing: Not Just Facebook Ads & Commercials

Let’s piggyback on that last paragraph. If your sales team is like the STEM department, what would that make the marketing team? If you guessed the social sciences and arts, you nailed it. In the same way that a society can’t function without its engineers and doctors, you need artists, writers, designers, and researchers to come full circle in the world.

The marketing team crafts the message that the sales team represents. Whether you are offering a service or a product, you don’t just have a Powerpoint of bulleted lists of why someone should be interested. You have engaging copy on marketing materials, online web ads, LinkedIn blog posts, or even in-person campaigns. Of course, individual sales reps have to pull double duty on this one; there is no “marketing department” to bounce ideas off or “HR department” to depend on for administrative help.

Regardless of the scope of your business, you need to always be ahead of the trends while still employing current strategies. One of the most popular marketing techniques today is selling a mindset or lifestyle instead of products or services. Brand loyalty hinges upon transparency and relatability of a company significantly more brand legacies. This is the point where sales and marketing come together.

Want to be a Great Sales Rep? Master Sales AND Marketing

Combine concrete numbers with creative problem solving solutions and you have a recipe for success. Your next question might be, so which came first – chicken or egg? Truth be told, that doesn’t matter. What matters is how your sales and marketing strategies work with each other toward the ultimate goal of success. You can’t make sales if your marketing doesn’t produce leads and you can’t turn leads into sales if your sales reps aren’t taking those leads successfully down the pipeline to close. Some have tossed around the term “smarketing”….but I have a better suggestion: sales acceleration.

What if there was a way you could marry sales and marketing into one software tool? Meaning, what if there was a tool that both generated qualified leads and then helped sales close the deal AND maintain the account? It is possible. Right now – sales lives in CRMs, and to a certain extent, marketing does too, however marketing also lives in marketing automation platforms and a million other types of platforms that cost thousands of dollars and turn your “tech stacks” to high-rises with confusing ROI’s.  There is no reason why sales and marketing should work within different technology platforms when they can work hand in hand.  

Sales acceleration strategies can streamline sales and marketing team processes for startups and enterprise level businesses alike. You don’t need tons of different specialists or software and programs anymore. Your all-in-one-tool for growing your business is right here with ProSellus Growth Engineers. Email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com to discuss the future of your business and be sure to read more about sales acceleration, growth hacking, and other medical sales reps tips on our blog.

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10 Things All Medical Devices Reps Should Learn in Training

Training sessions are often rehashes of what we already know, but, improving sales strategies should always be on your goals list. You don’t need to spice up training or even make it more complex; you need to focus the message and distill key elements from it. Basically – trim the fat. Here are 10 things all medical device sales training programs need in an easy to access list from ProSellus!

Start With The Basics

#1 and #2: Client Schedules & Mobility

Your first concern when crafting a new training program for medical device sales reps: respect for client schedule. After all, without your client base, your business wouldn’t exist! Listen to your clients’ needs, understand their needs, and be firm, but flexible. Next….you have to consider something mostly everyone takes for granted: mobility. The best part about smartphones is that you literally have a computer with you everywhere you go. You can access email, send texts, Skype people, and even access documents on your phone (and locate the nearest Starbucks). Can your training program work anywhere at any time for anyone – including you?

#3 and #4: Transparency & Snackable Information

Third up on the list is something many companies from “Mom and Pop” shops to massive corporations practice: honesty and transparency. Forbes argues that both of these factors are increasingly important in conducting any client based business. If you want to make sales acceleration techniques work best for you, ProSellus Growth Engineers recommend this path, too. Fourth on the list? Digestibility. And yes – information works just like food. Have you broken information in your training program into bite-sized pieces? Pro-tip: doing so allows trainees to more easily and effectively process information. It also gives you breathing room.

Protocols? Specialties? Vernacu-what?

#5 and #6: Documentation & Word Choice

HR (or human resources) gets the fun job of parsing things like employee handbooks along with administrative duties such as hiring and firing. Of course, if you’re a self-employed sales rep, you are your own HR department, accountant, chauffeur, etc. Adhering to documentation protocols might seem like it comes second fiddle to closing deals, but if you don’t practice good documentation, it could come back to bite you in uncomfortable places. Notice that I didn’t say a more common phrase that starts with “bite you in the…” there. That brings us to our next point: vernacular. That’s just a fancy word for the types of words you use, but it can drastically affect how clients interact with you. Consider the connotations of words and not just the dictionary meanings. Can you tell me the difference between “plot” and “plan”? The difference is probably a sale versus. a fail.

#7 and #8: Strong Sells & Specialization Knowledge

Our seventh piece of advice might seem counter-intuitive, but trust us – it makes sense. You need to avoid strong sells. It’s the 21st century. Everyone has internet access, curiosity, and common sense….or all of the above. No matter how much of a smooth talker you think you are, there will be clients who disagree. Read the room and have your facts handy. Speaking of facts, knowledge of adjacent specialties to a client’s industry and where patient populations come from will impress current and potential clients. It also works hand-in-hand with sales acceleration techniques. If you’re drawing blanks when we say “sales acceleration techniques”, keep reading.

Make Sure The Bow Looks Nice

#9 and #10: Repeat-ability & A Secret Weapon

What’s the last part of any gift you give? The bow! The ninth step to complete any medical device sales reps training package includes a key step: repeat-ability of training. You want complete strangers to be able to understand 100% of your training, but you also don’t want to expend every ounce of energy you have during training all the time, every time. All medical device sales training programs need to be easily repeatable, portable, and wrapped up in an attractive package that has evergreen information. Hint: “evergreen information” is information that never gets old and is always useful – like this list!

That brings us to number 10: ProSellus. Email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com for more information on how our tool can enhance your business, improve efficiency, and put all that big data to work for you. In the meantime, check out our other blogs like Improving Your Bottom Line in 3 Steps or Learning the Market: A Beginner’s Guide

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Is Technology Rewriting the Marketing Handbook for Medical Devices?

The World of Marketing Is a New Wild West

You might have noticed a trend in all of those seemingly innocuous Facebook and Instagram ads you see every day: they relate to your recent searches. Marketing companies have been using curated ad campaigns for individuals for a few years now to better serve potential clients. Instead of seeing a random ad for something odd like the best preschool in your neighborhood, marketing algorithms will curate ads specifically for you. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. It’s the new gold mine for sales.

 

No Followers Allowed; Leading Is The Only Option

Here at ProSellus, we talk a great deal about the life of medical device sales reps, as well as the changing industry with which we have to keep pace. But we also talk about the future. The truth is, the future is now. This article, written by the founder of Shift Thinking, unpacks the reality that technology has catapulted the medical industry into the future.

Not only are we seeing extreme advancements in medical technology, but the way we, as sales reps, can harness data for our own business growth strategies. Again, we work ourselves ragged maintaining and expanding our territories and cultivating relationships. However, in order for us to be the badass, successful reps we know ourselves to be, we have to keep up with, if not anticipate, technological changes and how they sway the market. This also means – yep, you guessed it – we have to adapt our marketing & sales strategies along with this. I don’t mean keeping up with the latest demo of a product or marketing collateral on your mobile device type of advancements – I mean adapting your thinking to outside of the box. It’s not difficult, actually when you get it – it’s a light bulb moment.  Keep reading.

 

What’s With the Sanctimonious Tech Talk?

You might be thinking, “My business runs mostly on relationships and my reputation. I don’t need to keep up with this Pokemon GO crap.” That’s where you’re wrong…again. Pokemon GO utilizes a budding technology in the medical industry: augmented reality. This is similar to virtual reality, but utilizes the user’s current world and adds virtual elements to it.

“…these virtual experiences can be delivery across a variety of platforms: on websites, sales laptops, mobile devices and high-definition touch screen appliances. Sales & Marketing teams can present any time and anywhere…”

The beauty of harnessing augmented and virtual reality technologies for medical sales reps is that you can make your business that much leaner, efficient, and effective.

Embracing Data Can be Quite Simple Actually

3D Technology, other interactive technology, and Big Data also play a vital role in this movement from products and services to mindsets. Changing the way people approach purchasing medical devices requires knowing what the focus of the industry is now: storytelling. Your clients care about things like: their patients, costs, emotional labor, etc. New technologies require new perspectives. Your job is to market these perspectives thereby instigating the correct value proposition which leads to a sale. Can you keep up? There is an entire world of data out there that can help you understand what your customer cares about. How do you access it?

(Let’s take a break here for a second, I need to vent… Data? Really? Me, as a sales rep, am supposed to use Data? Like Google? I Google docs all the time; the results usually leave me with more questions than I originally had. Sure, my company knows how many widgets my doctors implanted or prescribed and that’s helpful, but every time I get data from the Marketing team I can’t read ANY OF IT! Why can’t you get me this “so-called” valuable data in a format that I can actually do something with?!?! We typically just delete it.  We don’t use Excel or CSV, especially in the field! It needs to be easy if you want me, or us, to use it. Why is that so hard to understand? Ok. I’m done with my tirade.)

Now, how do you access this data? We can show you how and we have the technology to help. The light bulb went off for me and now we are giving it to you.

Sales Strategy is a Mindset…Time to Giddy Up

Being a medical sales rep is a little like being a cowboy in the wild west: every day is a new adventure. You have to adapt to the unforgiving heat and the cold, cold nights. Technology is your best bet on thriving so says Mark Bonchek:

“…digital innovation and technology is revolutionizing this by equipping Sales & Marketing to create compelling experiences, increase audience engagement, and build credibility and context.”

Technology and data are the key to getting ahead as a sales rep and as a sales manager. What if you could have all of this in your pocket while you were out in the field? If you are ready to transition from cowpoke to bona fide cowboy, email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com. Let’s begin exploring how you can incorporate new technology and metrics to bolster and enhance your medical device sales business.

 

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A Word of Advice for Creating YOUR brand

A Brand is Way More than the Logo and Packaging

In our last post we talked about changing your mindset to sell your product, or at the very least the mindset of your customer. We talked about how current marketing techniques are targeting specific things to make you think differently about products. For example, we spoke about Fitbit and how it not only sells an activity tracker, but it sells a “healthy lifestyle”, which obviously isn’t in their product. Fitbit is, in fact, building an image and inciting an emotional response that buyers associate with when they see the Fitbit brand.

So, when it comes to you, the medical sales rep (or quite frankly, the marketing team who work with the reps and are trying to determine a way to help your reps sell more) what “lifestyle” or “brand” are you trying to create? Is it the brand of, “My company ‘XYZ’ produces the best, safest, most effective widget?” Is it the brand of, “Our company created this market and we built the device to treat this market, therefore WE are the best, period?” As a medical rep or the marketing professional trying to put your reps in the position to win EVERY time, what brand are you creating or influencing?

I want you to take a hard look at what you sell, what products you support and deep down evaluate the following questions:

  1. Do your customers actually care what “brand” you’re currently trying to sell them?
  2. Do your competitors walk into your customer’s’ office after you leave and spin a similar story?
  3. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, your customers are tired of the same old thing?

Then, why don’t we try and actually sell a brand that transcends competition? A brand that stands out among the rest – truly.

Bringing Value and Creating a Brand go Hand in Hand

At ProSellus, not only have we created an intuitive, dynamic tool which helps reps crush their number, but we also work with sales teams in helping them incorporate a new way of selling. I ask all of the reps we work with a very straight forward question:  How do you bring value?  Interestingly enough, the answers I typically receive are similar to these:

  1. I’m on time…
  2. I have all of my equipment…
  3. I’m prepared for the case…
  4. I’m an “expert” in the OR…

Now, are all of these answers important? Of course they are.  You can’t even do this job if you don’t or can’t do the things listed above, however I’d say bringing value is much bigger than that.

These answers are nothing more than the price of admission to the game. As a rep in this industry you HAVE to do these things. They are the bare minimum!  If you think your competitors don’t do AT LEAST the same thing, you’re absolutely wrong!

So, if all this time you thought you were bringing a ton of value to your customers and they just couldn’t live without you – you are wrong. You’re doing the minimum, and your business is only a knock on the door away from being snatched from underneath you. So, how do we create a brand around bringing value?

I mean, if YOUR brand was that you bring value, and that value is often times unachievable without you, what have you actually created? You’ve created a brand that is irreplaceable – that’s what you’ve done. (This is where we all want to be… irreplaceable!)

Creating the Brand, Selling the Mindset, Changing the Game

Maya Angelou, a famous poet, memoirist and civil rights leader has a quote that I think exemplifies what we are trying to do with creating our brand, selling the mindset and changing the game: 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou 

People will never forget how you made them feel… THAT my friends is what we are trying to create! Your customers are begging for someone to come into their office and talk about something that actually matters to them!  And it’s NOT your product, I don’t care how revolutionary it is! They want you to paint a picture for them about how THEY can achieve THEIR goals.  They don’t want to hear about YOUR goals, or YOUR product or how YOUR company wants you to sell their product. They hear that all day, every day!

So, instead of selling them something they hear about all day long, what if you sold them something they craved? And what if you were the only person selling it? Could you possibly change the game? Would you possibly change the mindset? Would you now have created such a brand that you (and your company) were known as: The Problem Solver, Different than Everyone Else, Understands the Need, Understands the Market or Totally Gets It?

All of these are better than, oh, the “xyz” rep is here. He/She is in the lounge waiting to see you. And your customer says in their head: “I wonder what line I’ll be told today about how this product is in some way different than it was the last time the rep was here?” Or instead, “what lunch did they bring me today to stand out?”

Wouldn’t you rather the customer to say in their head: “Great! I’ve got several questions to ask ‘John’. I hope he doesn’t have another case after lunch, I may want him to stay for a bit while we talk…”

There IS a way you can stop the madness of this hamster wheel and break free to WIN. I did it myself, and we have built the tool needed by the very folks I sold both side by side with and against. If you would like to chat about how to start creating your value and brand meaningful enough to break away from the herd, email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com.

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